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that point, however, hes simply sizzl

 
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: 18.11.2017
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: 11, 2018 6:53 am     : that point, however, hes simply sizzl

MINNEAPOLIS - As Joe Mauer walked back to the dugout, the bat in his hand and a sour look on his face, there were boos from the Minnesota crowd. Mauer struck out to end the inning, with a runner on third base in the seventh on Wednesday and the Twins trailing 1-0. Everybody does this, of course, in a sport with a 30 per cent success rate at the plate long proven to be a benchmark of excellence. Failures this year have piled up for Mauer faster than usual for the six-time All-Star, three-time American League batting champion and one-time AL MVP. "Im a heck of a lot more frustrated than they are," Mauer said that night, when asked about those jeering fans. The sound of those boos has been jarring, considering hes the hometown guy from St. Paul with the handsome looks and the hitting skills to build a .321 career batting average, the best among all active players in baseball with at least 3,000 plate appearances. Minnesotans are fiercely proud of and protective of their natives, so Mauer figured to have a lifetime pass in the popularity department here. After signing that $184 million, eight-year contract extension in 2010, though, he has become a more-frequent target of criticism from fans frustrated by the teams struggles the past several years. The 28 home runs he hit in 138 games in 2009 were a one-year wonder. Lingering lower-body injuries limited him to 82 games in 2011. This season, his on-base-plus-slugging percentage was at a career-low .704 entering the weekend series in New York. Mauer is also on pace to blow by his career-high strikeout total of 89 set last year. "I feel pretty good actually, which is even more frustrating," he said. "Im hitting a lot of balls hard and just not having much to show for it. So hopefully that turns here soon." Mauer isnt the only one sputtering with the Twins. The teams batting average with runners in scoring position fell to .214, the second-worst in the league, after losing three of four games to Texas this week. "Were putting together a lot of good at-bats but still not driving people in with runners in scoring position. Thats the main focus, getting guys on, but we cant get them in," second baseman Brian Dozier said. Mauer reluctantly gave up his job as the catcher to better protect himself from another concussion, after missing the final six weeks of last season following a foul tip that hit him in the head. The loss to the Twins of Mauers intelligence and defence behind the plate was supposed to be trumped by an increase in his availability and production at a less-taxing position. He missed five games with back spasms earlier this month, but since then he said he feels fine. The problem has been these paltry totals: nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs through Thursday. "The expectations are very high for him. People get frustrated. I just dont want Joe to get frustrated. I know he is a little bit right now, because he doesnt have the results he wants. But I dont want to put any more pressure on the guy," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I just want him to just keep being himself, keep swinging, and hell be fine." ___ Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP Brandan Wright Jersey . The Rainbow FlickNext up is the Rainbow Flick, or as you probably know it, the trick that everybody at soccer camp thought they knew how to do. Wade Baldwin Jersey . Al Harrington, another former Knicks forward, scored 22 of his 24 points after halftime for the Nuggets, allowing them to withstand Anthonys attempt to rally the Knicks after his poor shooting had them behind until the final minutes of regulation. Anthony finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, missing 20 of 30 shots in the Knicks sixth straight loss. http://www.thegrizzliesofficial.com/Authentic-Mario-Chalmers-Grizzlies-Jersey/. Spencer Abbott and Trevor Smith scored third-period goals erasing a 2-1 deficit giving Toronto a late 3-2 lead. Custom Memphis Grizzlies Jerseys . - Vince Carter, heading into his 17th NBA season, doesnt consider age a big issue anymore. Memphis Grizzlies Jerseys . -- Each time the Utah Jazz threatened Memphis lead, the Grizzlies responded with defensive stops.TORONTO Third periods have been a glass half-full, glass half-empty debate for the Toronto Maple Leafs recently. They let a third period lead slip for the fourth time in the past five games against the Flyers on Saturday evening twice in fact on this night only to rally for a second straight overtime win. We dont want to make a habit of blowing third period leads, said Joffrey Lupul, who scored the overtime winner, but things are going to happen, other teams are going to make plays. We stuck with it. There was a good feeling on our bench going into overtime. It seemed like everyone had their composure and was calm and we got the result we needed. Rather than focus their attention on fumbled leads Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn did the damage for Philadelphia in the final frame the Leafs opted for the glass half-full approach, looking at how they responded to such deflation, first rallying in overtime to beat the Rangers on Wednesday night before doing the same against the Flyers in a 4-3 victory on this night. Thats really what we focus on, said Nazem Kadri, who scored his 17th of the year before initiating the rush that led to Lupuls overtime winner. We showed character to stay in games even though its a little bit deflating at times giving up a couple [one]-goal leads in the third period, especially late, to force overtime. But we stayed positive and came out with the right outcome. We were able to regroup and thats a positive for us because a lot of times when the game gets away from you your team goes and continues to spiral, added head coach Randy Carlyle. Well, we didnt spiral in my mind. Maybe if I re-watch it again Ill have a different opinion, but it didnt seem like we were under siege in the third. The tight-rope is perilous to walk on and in fumbling leads to the Islanders and Canadiens shortly after the Olympic break, the Leafs ended up losing in overtime twice, two points left on the table in the playoff race.And so for whatever credit they deserve for rallying under such circumstances, the trend of slipping third period leads is of legitimate concern, especially considering how frequently its happened. Whether due to inexperience, poor decision-making, poor defence, a poor power-play or the feisty push-back of their competition, the Leafs have been unable to lock down leads with the game on the line. Its a trend that dates back to their infamous collapse in Game 7 against Boston. A little bit of sometimes can be inexperience by us, but its also the other team being desperate, said Lupul. Phillys a team in a desperate situation and they were making a lot of good plays. Timonen erased the first lead when he dipped in from the point untouched, Coburn vanquishing the second such deficit on a blast through traffic from the point. They go both ways sometimes and tonight we got it, said Jake Gardiner, who scored in the first frame, but I dont think we want to keep that path going. Waged in a heated playoff race, the danger in losing such leads are points left on the table and points otherwise given to competitors. And yet, in spite of the recent tightrope act the Leafs have managed to keep picking up points. Now third in the Atlantic division with 76 on the year, theyve taken points in 16 of the past 19 games (13-3-3). Five Points 1. Secondary Scoring Torontos top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk entered the evening with 49 per cent of the teams goals in the 2014 calendar, but went rarely silent against the Flyers. Secondary contributions were found though from the likes of Kadri, Lupul, Gardiner and Mason Raymond, all four lines creating opportunities to score opposite Steve Mason, especially in an energetic first frame. I think thats whats going to have to be a key to our success as the season goes on because as good as our first line has been it would be asking a lot for them to sustain the pace that theyve had these past 10, 15 games, said Lupul. &lddquo;Were going to have to step up.dddddddddddd 2. Bodies Opportunity Tim Leiweke, current President and CEO of MLSE, made a beeline for Troy Bodie in the Leafs dressing room after their narrow win against the Flyers. He was there to congratulate his son-in-law for another effective night at the office, one that saw him chip in with two assists in nearly 16 minutes of ice (just shy of a season-high). Hes a big, hard-working, honest hockey player, Carlyle said afterward of Bodie. The 29-year-old has played in every game since being recalled from the Marlies in mid-January, an energetic presence in whatever opportunity hes been dealt. That was filling the skates of the injured David Clarkson on this night, Bodie occupying the right side on a line with Peter Holland and Mason Raymond. Hes been a noticeable player for us for a while now, Lupul said. Hes always getting a couple chances during the game, he finishes his checks and drives the net hard. For him to be a difference-maker tonight its a nice reward for him, but hes been playing that way since the last time he got called up. Bodie was the driving force on goals from Gardiner and Raymond. 3. Power-Play Still Searching Still nestled in amongst the top-10 in the NHL this season now seventh-best the Leaf power-play remained empty for the eighth consecutive game Saturday, 0-3 against the Flyers and now 0-18 in that eight-game span. 4. Bozak on the Draw Though hes surged in point production this season and especially in the past three months Tyler Bozak has not, until very recently, been his usual productive self in the faceoff circle. The low-point may have come in Colorado on Jan. 21. Bozak was drubbed by Paul Stastny and the Avalanche that night, losing 20 of 29 draws. Since that point, however, hes simply sizzled, winning 55 per cent of his faceoffs during an 11-game stretch. Hes back to the Bozie that we know in the faceoff circle, said Carlyle. Hovering right under 53 per cent in the past two seasons, the 27-year-old has inched up to 49 per cent this year with the recent hot streak, right on the outskirts of the NHLs top 30. As hot as hes been lately though, Bozak actually struggled on the draw against the Flyers. He lost 13 of 23 faceoffs mostly to Claude Giroux and dropped a critical draw late in regulation, beaten by Brayden Schenn on the sequence that led to Coburns game-tying goal. 5. 7-D Carlyle trotted out seven defenders for the sixth time in the past seven games, keeping Paul Ranger in the lineup as the rover on the back-end. We think that it does two things, said Carlyle. It gives our offensive players a little bit more ice-time. We try to spread Phil around a little bit more, try to get some more minutes for Clarkson and Lupul And then it takes a little bit more load off of some our defencemen. If you get into a special teams game where youve got lots of power-play and penalty killing it chews some of the minutes there also. Stats-Pack 0-18 Toronto power-play in the past eight games. 21 Games missed this season by David Clarkson due to suspensions and injuries. Clarkson suffered a muscle pull (left leg) at practice Friday and did not play against the Flyers. 16 Number of times in the past 19 games that the Leafs have registered at least a point. 1 Multipoint nights this season for Troy Bodie, who had two assists against the Flyers. 8-4-0 Leafs record when outshooting an opponent this season. They mustered 36 to 31 for the Flyers. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 20.7% (7th) PK: 2-2Season: 77.9% (28th) Quote of the Night We were able to regroup and thats a positive for us because a lot of times when the game gets away from you your team goes and continues to spiral. Well, we didnt spiral in my mind. -Randy Carlyle, on recovering from a blown third period lead. Up Next The Leafs hit the road for a five-game trip, beginning Monday night when Randy Carlyle returns to Anaheim for the first time since he was fired by the Ducks. 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